So, is Abraham our ancestor on account of the flesh?
Those who preached in my day, in fact I myself before I knew Jesus as the Christ, preached that the answer to this question is yes.
Yes, Abraham is righteous because he’s the first man set apart from the Pagan world, he’s the first circumcised man of God.
And so too, we faithful people of God are his heirs, his ancestors, because we too set ourselves apart, we follow all the rules that make us a distinct people separate from the heathens.
He is righteous on account of his separateness, and so too are we. In fact, those Jews in my day who most fully removed ourselves from the wider world called ourselves the Righteous Ones.
Yet, now I come to you, preaching a new Gospel, or rather the Gospel always in existence, but now made obvious to all.
Our separation from other people does not make us heirs of Abraham.
Our works, our following the Law, does not make us heirs of Abraham.
For that matter, Abraham’s honor and rightness before God, do not have to do with circumcision or separation or law…
Don’t believe me? Just look at your bible. Abraham lives before Moses—so those Laws he receives are not the laws Abraham lives by.
Not only that, God enters into Abraham’s life before Abraham is circumcised.
Abraham’s relationship with God is not predicated on Law, Separation, or Circumcision.
My contemporaries read scripture wrong on this point—I, a Righteous Zealot myself—read scripture wrong on this point. In fact, my zeal was in part founded upon this wrong reading of the Bible.
You see, Abraham was made right before God by his faith…
And when I say faith, let’s be clear, I’m not saying Abraham was reciting a correct creed, wasn’t being justified by right answer, wasn’t writing eloquent works of theology for the ages.
No, Abraham trusted God!
Think of the audacity of what he does. He trusts God and joins on a journey with God!
He immigrates to a strange new land.
He trusts God so deeply that he packs everything up and leaves Ur of the Kaldes and goes to a strange land he’s never heard of.
He leaves this Iraqi town just North East of Kuwait—I hear your country now has some issues with immigrants and refugees. Thank God Abraham’s era was much less barbaric than your own.
Abraham trust’s God on this journey—a journey with plenty of setbacks and hardships, loss… yet a journey to that promised place!
And, today, I just want you to know all of you who journey with God, who trust God, you are also Abraham’s children!
You who trust the God who calls life out of death—in the person of his Son Jesus, but also calling all of you—heirs like Isaac, unexpected, laughable, yet God creates him, creates faith in you!
You who trust the God who calls into existence those things which did not exist—calling forth creation itself, and even, here today—look around you—God calls a community together who were not together, creates the body of Christ here and now!
So, trust that you are children of Abraham, not on account of any action of your own, not because you’ve separated yourself from other people, or followed particular laws, or marked your body as belonging to God.
You are children of Abraham, because you have his faith, because you trust in the God who shows up and journeys with you your whole life long.